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Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People Hardcover – April 19, 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Barnett is not only one of the most important constitutional scholars of our time, but he advocates brilliantly for the restoration of our Republic by embracing our Constitution and defending individual sovereignty. This is a very important book for constitutional conservatives and all Americans who love liberty and the country. (Mark R. Levin, lawyer, radio host and author of Plunder and Deceit and The Liberty Amendments. )

“You don’t have to be in agreement with Randy Barnett to respect his scholarship, enjoy his writing, and learn from his arguments. But--trigger warning!-- after reading this book, I predict you’ll find yourself more persuaded than you expected to be of the urgent case for reclaiming our Republican Constitution.” (William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard)

Randy Barnett is one of the country’s most important and creative constitutional thinkers. In Our Republican Constitution he revives and restates the natural rights tradition in American constitutional thought, explaining why our system of government is based on respect for the individual sovereignty of each and every one of us. (Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School)

“Our Republican Constitution is simultaneously intellectually rigorous and a real page-turner, filled with dramatic anecdotes that illustrate Barnett’s powerful and provocative argument that routine deference to elected legislators is the wrong way to interpret the Constitution or create a rich and flourishing society.” (Reason.com)

“Barnett has a gift for the clear exposition of complicated ideas, and curious, intelligent, but non-expert readers will learn much about the battle for the soul of the Constitution from this book.” (the Washington Free Beacon)

From the Back Cover

The nation’s leading libertarian legal scholar tells the riveting story of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions and explains that beneath every passionate debate between conservatives and liberals lies a deep disagreement about our founding document.

Americans today are deeply divided—politically, ideologically, and culturally. Some of us live in blue states and watch CNN; others live in red states and watch Fox News. Some Americans want more government, others less. We engage in passionate debate over issues like gun control, health care, same-sex marriage, immigration, and the war on terrorism. But above all, says renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett, we are in fundamental disagreement about the Constitution.

From the early days of the American republic, the nature of government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has been disputed. This is because there are not one but two very different notions of “We the People” and popular sovereignty, which yield competing schools of constitutional thought. The democrats view We the People collectively and think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group. They view the Constitution as a living document and contend that today’s majority should not be governed by the dead hand of past majorities.

The republicans view We the People as a collection of individuals. Their vision of government is that it should not reflect the will of the majority—but rather secure the preexisting rights of each and every person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This fundamental disagreement lies at the heart of our current national divide. In Our Republican Constitution, Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this conflict arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative republican constitution; and how the struggle and eventual victory over slavery led to its improvement by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon after, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake it into a democratic constitution by ignoring key passages of its text. And eventually the courts complied.

Luckily, this debate is far from over. Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history—as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare—Barnett explains why We the People would benefit greatly from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and political arena.

Advance Praise For Our Republican Constitution

“Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett is a rarity in academia. He is not only one of the most important constitutional scholars of our time, but a brilliant advocate for the restoration of our republic by embracing the Constitution and defending individual sovereignty. This is a very important book for constitutional conservatives and all Americans who love liberty and country.”—Mark R. Levin, lawyer, radio host, and author of Plunder and Deceit and The Liberty Amendments

“You don’t have to be in agreement with Randy Barnett to respect his scholarship, enjoy his writing, and learn from his arguments. But—trigger warning!—after reading this book, I predict you’ll find yourself more persuaded than you expected to be of  the urgent case for reclaiming our Republican Constitution.”—William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard

“Randy Barnett is one of the country’s most important and creative constitutional thinkers. In Our Republican Constitution, he revives and restates the natural rights tradition in American constitutional thought for our time, explaining why our system of government is based on the primacy of rights and respect for the individual sovereignty of each and every one of us.”—Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School

“Randy Barnett has given us the book that will help every American develop a greater understanding of the Constitution. But Barnett does so much more than help us recall our constitutional heritage and the power of the courts to protect the rights of the people; he also points to a path forward for constitutional conservatives. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of our Constitution, from one of the most insightful constitutional scholars and political philosophers of his generation, and one of the leaders in our shared effort to restore the Constitution’s commitment to individual liberty.”—MIKE LEE, U.S. SENATOR FOR UTAH

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Broadside Books (April 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062412280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062412287
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite the title, Randy Barnett’s Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People has almost nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Actually, in this tale, neither political party covers themselves in glory. Similarly, it has very little to do with liberals or conservatives, except that both groups are often guilty of alternately embracing or rejecting constitutional principles as a means to their desired ends.

Instead, the book is an examination of the fundamental duality of ‘We the People’ - Do the Constitution and our political systems reflect the will of the people collectively, a majoritarian view, or do they fundamentally reflect the rights and sovereignty of people as individuals, a libertarian view? Does the Constitution merely provide a vehicle for minimally impeded majority rule, which may run roughshod over the rights of the individuals who happen to be in the minority, or does it require and empower the government to protect the rights of the individuals? Does Robert Bork’s dismissive statement “Being at the mercy of legislative majorities' is merely another way of describing the basic American plan: representative democracy” accurately reflect the reality of the American political system, or does Princeton Political Scientist Stephen Macedo more accurately characterize it in his rejoinder that , "When conservatives like Bork treat rights as islands surrounded by a sea of government powers, they precisely reverse the view of the Founders as enshrined in the Constitution, wherein government powers are limited and specified and rendered as islands surrounded by a sea of individual rights.
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Another very clear and concise presentation of the failure of the Government to uphold the principles of the American Revolution and the Constitution. More importantly it presents a method (Article 5/US Constitution) whereby the People can reclaim their Rights from the State. The book leaves much unsaid in this area; however, their are many other groups the reader may find online who support a Convention of States under Article 5 of the Constitution.
I believe this 2nd American Revolution is the only way to restore our Liberties and Freedom from a Government who views the People of the United States as its "Property" to be controlled and managed from birth until death.
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I read this immediately after finishing Barnett's previous book, "Restoring the Lost Constitution." There's a lot of overlap, but it served as a nice "refresher course" of that longer, denser work. It emphasizes two things that RTLC hit on rather lightly: (1) how the structure of the Constitution is intended to protect the rights of the individual against the will of the majority, and (2) the role that judges play in upholding this priority of individual rights over "majority will." A host of accumulated, judge-made legal doctrines and presumptions act together to cause today's judges to shirk this responsibility. Indeed, the citizen whose rights are violated by a law passed either by Congress or a state (or by an administrative rule) is a virtual David versus Goliath when challenging the enactment in court, because the scales have been tipped in advance so far in favor of the government.

I particularly liked the metaphor of an ocean liner. It's designed not to sink, but there are lifeboats just in case. If you're needing to use the lifeboats, well, it's good that they're there, but you're already in trouble. So it is with the Constitution. The overall structure *should* have been enough to vigorously protect individual rights against governmental intrusion, but the Bill of Rights added later provided the lifeboats, just in case that failed. Because of how judges generally--and the Supreme Court specifically--have misread and misapplied the fundamental principles of the Constitution, we've lost the great structural protections, and we're in the lifeboats, with only the text of a few specifically enumerated rights to protect us.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Terrific book - required reading for anyone wanting to understand the core problem. An excellent introductory life changing for anyone uninformed/unfamiliar with who will actually read it, and a boost also for those who already are informed on the subject.
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Rather than "feeling the Berne," today's youth need to carefully read this book before they are swept up in a movement they don't understand and unwittingly throw away the treasure which has been the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
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The book every frustrated American should read. Want to understand how we got here? This book does it. Excellent!
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I'm a big fan of his work, and I can't have enough good things to say about it. It will challenge you, teach you, and inspire you. Whether or not you agree with him, you'll learn a lot.
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Excellent book, must read if you are interested in understanding the US Constitution.
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